The upcoming novel The Grifter is the second novel by Ali Gunn, this time working with Sean Campbell, author of Dead on Demand, the first installment in the DCI Morton Crime Novel Books. Dead has more than 2,000 reviews, and book two has nearly as many with 81% 4 and 5 stars. So, their pairing seems perfect since Ali Gunn kills people for a living, according to our official notes.
As for The Grifter, available for preorder at just 99-cents on Amazon, it offers-up a 150-word prologue that caught me off guard and convinced me to read the novel. It’s crisp, intriguing, and slightly bold, and cheeky—just my speed.
This is a strange, quirky tale of want and revenge, except things don’t flow like that, but it’s there in the background straining to get out. And, the protagonist’s story, that of one Hank Marvin, is at one point intriguing and still slimy. Hank speaks in the first person, as the story opens on his current situation: a bum on the street.
But Mr. Marvin is also a man fixated on his antagonist, Kent Bancroft, a fund manager with safe hands who handles everything with a bent towards the extreme and the crooked. Sure, He’s a lucky man who’s made the grade with a beautiful wife and a home in Kensington – and he works in a plush tower in London, but he’s not on the level.
As for Mr. Marvin, well, there’s some backstory, some fetid and festering. Anger. Maybe it’s his homelessness, and maybe it’s his missing leg. Perhaps it’s 500,000 Pound, British Sterling. Let’s just say it’s a heavy load.
And, lest you think there’s little going on or only a tiny cast of character, fort about it. The writing is good, the pace steady (not breakneck), and the people brought to our reader’s world are more than cardboard cutouts.
Overall, the story will keep you turning pages, guessing (incorrectly in my case) at motives and outcomes, and enjoying the intricate twists the characters employ to move their stories forward.